We, the signatory organizations, once again, express our concern due to physical violence directed towards political opponents and call on law enforcement bodies to swiftly and effectively investigate the incident that took place in the Village Gamarjveba on September 16th, 2016, where the members of the campaign office of Nugzar Tsiklauri were physically attacked.
According to publicly disseminated information, which came from UNM, on September 16, 2016 in the Gardabani Municipality village Gamarjveba, in the courtyard of campaign office of the UNM majoritarian candidate, Nugzar Tsiklauri, the activists of the Georgian Dream, Lasha Khachvani and Giuli Chilashvili attacked the members of the UNM campaign office, Nika Mtchedlidze and Natia Mtchedlidze. According to the UNM, the activists of the Georgian Dream, Lasha Khachvani used knife to wound and later, beat up Nika Mtchedlidze; Natia Mtchedlize was abused physically as well.
According to the statement of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, an argument took place in the village Gamarjveba between several individuals, and use of knife has not been reported and none of the persons participating in the incident are wounded. As it is practice in all similar cases, investigation was launched under Article 125 of the Criminal Code of Georgia (‘beating up’).
Unfortunately, these types of incidents have become regular: on September 2, 2016 the UNM majoritarian candidate’s Vake electoral district campaign office was raided; on August 10, 2016 the Nadzaladevi office of the National Forum was robbed; on August 11 and 12, 2016 Zugdidi and Dedoplistskaro offices of the UNM were raided; on August 22, 2016 a member of the UNM was physically attacked; on May 22, 2016 in the Kortskeli settlement of Zugdidi Municipality, during midterm elections, the leaders of the UNM and the members of Zugdidi based NGOs were verbally attacked and abused physically with extreme force. Similarly, a number of incidents have been recorded throughout 2015 as well.
It is particularly alarming, that none of the above-described incidents have been fully investigated and neither have the persons who have violated the law – punished. This passivity of the law-enforcement bodies further instigates those who violate the Law. We, the NGOs, have already addressed the Government of Georgia on this, but to no avail.
Once again, we call upon the Government of Georgia and the respective state bodies, to adequately react to every incident that involves physical violence against political opponents, so that Georgia’s democratic development does not artificially suffer, and ensuring that free and democratic parliamentary elections are held.
Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI)
Institute for Democracy and Safe Development (IDSD)
Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI)
Media Development Foundation (MDF)
Georgia's Reforms Associates (GRASS)